Friday, January 28, 2011

Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

Truth: I wasn't always as outgoing and as social as I have grown to be in my adult life. 

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While every person is born with a certain level of demonstrative personality, it's obvious some are born with more of that boisterousness than others. Yes, I was that little girl in class raising my hand in the front row with the answer. You could find me in any number of after-school activities, and I'd be right in the middle of the action at the weekly soccer game or the Girl Scouts meeting.

But yet, I was never that someone that everyone knew. I ran with my own little crowd, and didn't often reach out beyond it to make friends. By middle school, I clearly remember being that girl that not a lot of people talked to. I was the new girl in town, fresh from the Richmond suburbs to a land where everyone wore Abercrombie tank tops and Soffe shorts and knee-high socks (thank goodness that trend died quickly thereafter). When I timidly made friends that year, it was with girls that I was certain were going to be my life-long pals. Certain that they would be people with whom I would go off to High School, then College, and with whom I'd always stay in touch.

Gosh, how naive we all were at that age.

By high school, somewhere between my classes and extracurricular activities, I slowly made some actual friends, many of whom I keep in touch with today. I had kids that I'd sit with in class, and girls I would gossip with as we procrastinated diving into the 5:30AM chilly water. Another few saved me a seat at orchestra rehearsals, and I met new ones from other schools through church. It wasn't everyone around me, but I began to know people here, there and everywhere. I felt more and more comfortable walking into a room and meeting someone new.

I won't bore you with the details, but this whole story replayed itself for me in college, when I headed off to Tech without a single pal in tow. While former classmates lived it up in Athens or headed to other states, I ventured downtown and started fresh as the new girl alone in the room again.

And you know what? It was fun. It was a personal challenge to me, to seek out and befriend girls (and guys) that would be around for the long haul. It created in me a drive that sticks with me today, one that nudges me to step outside my comfort zone.

As uncomfortable as those few experiences might have been, I am thankful for them; they got me to where I am today. This Katherine, the one that likes to spill all sorts of thoughts out here on the interwebs to you, has been formed by all the mean pre-teen girls, awkward public speaking moments in front of my peers, guys that ignored me when I was bright-red crushing on them and ice breakers that made me cringe.

Today, as a late 20's something adult, I can venture more easily into the unknown and all those blundering moments when you feel alone in a room, because I know that I might meet a new, fabulous person along the way. It's helped me move along in my career, in my personal life and in my own head. Goodness, it even helped me create this very blog, when in reality I was just hoping (read: praying) that people might want to click through and read it.

So thanks, all you people and situations along the way that got me here. I owe you one.

Mama's Losin' It
This post today is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writing Prompts. I love these when I am looking for a jolt of creativity, or when I am just looking to write about something totally new and different than my usual posts here. I hope you enjoyed my little look into my past, of a time(s) that I "stepped outside my comfort zone" :)

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5 comments:

HealBalanceLive said...

What a positive attitude you have, that is the way to make lemonade out of lemons. Great post :)

Katherine Malone said...

Thank you so much HBL! That is so nice of you to say :)

jimmyfjames said...

This was an awesome post! I too was the shy timid guy in class, but that changed end of HS and into college and with that I have made so many new friendships.

Thanks again for a great post that made me remember some of my friends and appreciate the journey from shy nerd to the nerd I am today :)

ATLrunner said...

Definitely can relate to this post - still feel like post college has some of the same challenges :-) Great perspective on it!

Katherine Malone said...

Thanks Jimmy and Deb! So nice of you to say, and I am glad others have felt/feel similarly!